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Government in action! A NASA inspector general report has found that NASA’s program for developing new spacesuit is behind schedule, over budget, and unable to provide the necessary spacesuits needed for the agency’s future projects.
NASA’s spacewalking suits are in short supply, and a replacement is still years away despite the nearly $200 million spent on new technology, the space agency’s inspector general reported Wednesday. A next-generation suit for spacewalking astronauts is needed for future space travel, including trips to Mars. But a lack of a formal plan and destinations has complicated suit development, according to the report . At the same time, NASA has reduced funding for suit development, putting more priority instead on space habitats.
According to the report, NASA is dealing with a variety of design and health risks associated with the spacewalking suits used by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The suits were developed more than 40 years ago and intended for 15 years.
More here. Essentially, the suits NASA presently uses on ISS don’t work well, there aren’t enough of them left, and they are difficult to maintain because they were designed for transport up and down on the space shuttle. At the same time NASA’s entire program to replace these suits has been mismanaged so badly that no replacement suits are anywhere on the horizon,even after spending hundreds of millions of dollars.
I predict that the next new spacesuit Americans use will be built in less than five years for a tenth the cost, by private companies.